Our Hymer’s Electrical Heart Attack
Cynthia has left me. Not for good I hope. I said goodbye to her yesterday at the crack of dawn on a windy platform at Gare de Narbonne. She’s gone to Paris for a few days to enjoy the sights and a little stimulating conversation with one of her old flying buddies. That leaves me with just the dogs, and yet another electrical problem to solve.
We had an issue with our headlights last week. After three days wild camping I started the engine in the pre-dawn dark to discover that neither headlight worked and one of the high beam bulbs appeared to be out. Given our appalling record with French mechanics, we buried our collective head in the sand and decided to only drive during the day for a while and hope the problem would resolve itself. We didn’t expect the plan to work, but it did. Three days later all of our lights were fully functional again. We don’t know why, and we aren’t complaining.
Just to keep us on our toes, the electrical system then threw another spanner in the works yesterday. We’re living in the Hymer full time. We need electricity for lights, the water pump, charging our phones, Kindles, MacBook and iPad and, the most significant drain this time of the year, for running the heating system fan.
To keep our two leisure bank batteries filled with electrical goodness we need plenty of hot sun for the solar panel, a long drive to put the alternator to work, or an hour or two with the generator running.
We discovered that the generator wasn’t putting a charge into the two leisure batteries. To make sure that the generator wasn’t at fault we moved to an aire in Narbonne with an electrical hookup. That didn’t work either.
We were left with just two possibilities to charge the leisure bank; an unseasonal spell of strong sunshine or a long and aimless drive. After glancing at the thick bank of cloud above me, I took the Hymer for a spin.
An hour later I parked on a rough track overlooking a saltwater lagoon near Leucate. I phoned Oaktree Motorhomes. The Hymer came with a three year RAC warranty when we bought it in March 2016. Oaktree suspects the charging problem is a fault with the Hymer’s elektroblock, a mass of electrical wizardry hidden beneath a false bottom in a cupboard by the passenger seat.
The good news is that the repair is covered by the warranty. The bad news is that I have to return to the UK to have the work done. What’s more, the Hymer needs to be left with Oaktree Motorhomes for ten days while the elektroblock is sent away for repair. While the vehicle is there we can get two more warranty jobs done; a replacement radiator fitted, and a gearbox seal replaced which will necessitate removing much of the engine.
As the Hymer is our home, I’ll have to move Cynthia and the dogs and everything we own onto the boat, take the Hymer to Nottingham and then fly back to the Netherlands until the elektroblock has been repaired. We’ll schedule the work for April when we return to Belgium to move our Linsen yacht from Antwerp to the Leiden. In the meantime, I need to buy a battery charger.